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1. “But in the last eight years, as we have welcomed six, lost two, and anxiously await the arrival of our seventh, what I have learned most is that He has loved me enough to create me in a way that mirrors Him, while giving me the gift of being a vehicle to bring a unique soul into this world. Isn’t that beautiful?! Isn’t His love for us and for His children amazing? Better than anything I can imagine…just as He planned it.

“In His truth in this encyclical, His truth about marital love, simply put…God loves you. He loves who He created you to be. He loves who you are. He loves when you follow His will and He loves you when He has to call you back into His arms, enveloping with a mercy bigger than any of your sins. He didn’t design you and me with a plan to make our lives miserable. Instead, He gave us the tools to choose Him over and over again in order to be at peace. He has loved you and me enough to guide us back to Him…in every area of our lives, from our decisions about daily life to those made in the bedroom. He is in complete control. All, we have to do is continue to say yes to His will. And, I cannot think of anything that gives me more peace.” – The Fisk Files

2. One of my favorites (Mother Angelica) telling it like it is… “Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement.”  In all honesty, trying to avoid my crosses has, at times, caused more pain than the crosses themselves. Has that been your experience at all too?

3. God has been working on my (fearful) heart in a big way lately. I’ve been seeing so many prompts, good reads, and images that have made me reflect on my fears and my faith. This was one of those things: “When I had to make decisions, I began to ask myself, “Are you doing this out of love or out of fear?” This one question changed everything for me. I began to notice situations when fear was my primary emotion and motivation, and that realization helped me stop and think. Was my initial reaction really the best solution?” – Zuzanna Górska-Kanabus and Matthew Green

4. 6 Things to avoid on social media if you want a happier marriage 

5. I had a follow-up with my Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner earlier this week.  If you haven’t had a follow-up in a while, or you’re looking for a new instructor to help you learn the Creighton Model of NFP, I *highly* recommend Lisa Jurski! Here’s her site!

“Lisa Jurski discovered the Creighton Model and FertilityCare by happenstance in 2003. She and her husband went through the year-long learning process together and came out the other side with a new and better appreciation for fertility. Although she loved the method, she was disappointed that she hadn’t heard about it 10 years earlier! This inspired her to want to bring the Creighton Model System (CrMS) to a wider audience in Chicago. She felt very strongly that this information was critical for women to understand to be able to make well-informed decisions related to their overall reproductive health and fertility. She finally was able to go through the training to become a Certified FertilityCare Practitioner starting in 2009. 8 years later she has taught over 600 women and couples how to chart and use CrMS. Personally, she and her husband have used the method in all of its capacities: to postpone pregnancy for the first 7 years, to achieve pregnancy (living proof that 76% of couples of normal fertility achieve in the first cycle of “trying”), and to address the underlying causes of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.”

6. I love the time that my husband I have had together, just the two of us. Once in a while, though, I feel sad about the quietness in our home (even though I love some silence at times – when I can hear it). When I feel like that, I run to our family & friends. “The world’s otherness is antidote to confusion [and] standing within this otherness — the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books — (or with our family & friends) can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.” (Mary Oliver) This thing I know for sure: we were made for love and for communion and community. ❤️🙌🏻👌🏻🏡
8.  “There will be seasons. Some years are just amazing, completely full of grace and tangible joy. Others have felt like overwhelming dark valleys where we’re just barely hanging on together. This is why I love the part in the traditional vows where we promised to love each other for better or worse. Because there really will be better and worse days and seasons… Learn to be vulnerable. It takes time and patience to trust another person 100% with your spiritual life, emotions, sexuality, possessions, and the parts of your personality the rest of the world doesn’t see. There have been times in our marriage where that trust has been broken, and when we had to show love for one another by asking forgiveness and working towards complete vulnerability once again. Couples therapy can be a wonderful tool, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you need it.

I think the wedding toast we’ve prepared for our kids pretty much sums up our thoughts on marriage: “May you be a slave to one another, but most of all to Christ.” – Andi Compton, Spoken Bride

9. “During my preparation over the summer, I happened upon a story in the Bible that gave me great comfort in my seemingly impossible journey: the story of Esther. Just like me, she was asked to do something incredibly terrifying to her. She spent the entire night in prayer before approaching her king. From that, she gained immense courage and was able to stand in front of the King, “radiant with perfect beauty, and she looked happy,” even though she was completely frozen with fear (Esther 15:6; NAB D:5). She gave herself to God and His mission and He supplied her with the necessary grace to complete her mission.” – Helen Kelly

10. “In 1 Peter 4:7-13, we are urged to love intensely, be hospitable without complaining, and serve with our giftedness. I pray today for increased awareness of all the opportunities presented to me to love, to be welcoming, and to serve others intensely, generously, and without reserve. With God’s help, I can and will!” – Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception This is a great reflection to pray about and act on within our marriages…